Nashville, TN— As part of a Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) Boots on the Ground project, volunteers from Painters District Council No. 30 helped put the finishing touches on a new facility that will host youth educational programs at the Torstenson Family Youth Conservation Education Center.
Located just outside of Rockford, IL adjacent to the Pecatonica River, the center is situated on 750-acres of property and boasts woodlands, wetlands and prairies. Owned and managed by the Illinois Conservation Foundation, the Torstenson Center is a hunting, camping and birding paradise for area youth.
To expand educational opportunities for local science classes, FFA members, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and other youth conservation organizations, the foundation and seven IUPAT volunteers joined forces to refinish a wood ceiling and paint the new learning center with materials donated by Sherwin Williams.
“These projects are important to the labor movement because they give union members the opportunity to refine their skills while working together to volunteer for a great cause,” said Ryan Anderson, Painters District 30 Director of Organizational Development. “Unions provide members with the best when it comes to career opportunities and representation. It’s great that our members are able to give some of that back to their communities with a skill-set that allows them to do the jobs right.”
In addition to the Painters involvement, volunteers from IBEW Local 196 have offered to help with the project by removing tree limbs from the youth camping area located near the new educational facility. Several other future projects are currently being discussed between the foundation and USA for the property.
“We are very pleased to be working with USA,” said Mark Spangler, ICF Executive Director. “Local 150 Operating Engineers have expressed an interest in helping develop a five acre pond and berms for a shooting range, and the ICF is currently exploring grant opportunities to raise $30,000 to cover the cost of fuel for these projects.
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Boots on the Ground program brings together union members from around the country, who are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to tackle conservation projects, like the Torstenson Center, which improve and enhance public access, wildlife habitat and outdoor experiences for communities across America.
For more information or to find out how you can help, contact Tim Bindl at[email protected] or 608-397-1023. To learn more about the ICF and Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center, visit http://www.ilcf.org.
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat throughout North America. For more information, visithttp://www.unionsportsmen.org or http://www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.